PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
SPOTLIGHT ON PHOTOGRAPHER
IMPROVING YOUR DIGITAL WORKFLOW
IMAGE EDITING TIPS & TUTORIALS
ISSUE #28 - May. 2010
YO U R G U I D E T O T H E W O R L D O F D I G I TA L P H O T O G R A P H Y
NEW ZEALAND OTAGO RAIL TRAIL by Alan Hough
POINT & SHOOT HOW THESE SMALL CAMERAS CAN COMPLIMENT YOUR DSLR
HOW PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE USING FLICKR TO CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Plus: Digital Photography Techniques, Photoshop速 CS4 Tutorials, and More!
PhotographyBB Online Magazine
From The Editor’s Desk Dave Seeram is the Editor in Chief for PhotographyBB Online Magazine. As the administrator of the PhotographyBB Website and Forums, Dave is also an experienced author of several Photoshop® Actions and Tutorials which can be found on http://www.PhotographyBB.com
PhotographyBB Online Magazine Issue Twenty-Eight: Evolution
elcome to the 28th Edition of the PhotographyBB Online Magazine. The theme this month is all about evolution. We’ve relaunched the blog (with more enhancements coming), have some new killer photography challenges on the forums, and some new editions to the magazine too. We’re evolving and we want you, our readers, to evolve as photographers with us. Recently we’ve been focusing on the notion of making more time to our photography, whether it’s just practicing, or getting out there and starting your own full or part-time photo business. With all of these things in mind, we’ll continue to bring you the latest and greatest from our contributing team to help us all continue to grow as photographers. In this month’s photography tutorial, I’ll be guest authoring an article on 8 ways to ‘rev-up’ your auto-show photography, along with some helpful tips on dealing with challenges and post processing. In our portraiture series, Grady Layman shows us his practical technique for skin softening portraits. We have a great series of articles this month, starting with Ken Fagan’s editorial on “Photography for a Sunny Day” and the importance of finding your photographic inspiration. Jon Ayres shares his story of self promotion through photo blogs, and how you can generate income through maintaining your own photo blog. Also on the topic of self-promotion, Mike Frye shows us how photographers are using Flickr as an online portfolio for their work, as well as to network with other photographers. In relation, Jason Anderson picks up our Photo-Preneur series with a primer on licensing, the different options available, and which may be most beneficial for you. Last month we looked at what to look for when choosing a new digital SLR camera. This month, Jay Livens introduces us to the world of point-and-shoot cameras, and the benefits of supplementing your digital SLR with a smaller point-and-shooter. We also have three great software tutorials this month, starting with guest contributor, Tom Crosman’s guide to creating blue skies which really pop. Jennifer Farley hits us with a tutorial on how to create digital frames to show off your photos with style. It’s amazing how the presentation of adding a frame to a digital image can lend a high impact to the overall presentation. Lastly, John Ogden is taking us back to basics with a look at the fundamentals in Bridge and Lightroom this month. John is giving us these lessons in a two-part series; part one being this edition. In our Photography Around the World series, guest contributor Alan Hough takes us to New Zealand for a photographic expose on cycling the Central Otago Rail Trail. Thanks again to our contributing team for putting together this exciting edition, and to our readership who continue to spread the word for us. We appreciate all of you. Grab your cameras, coffees, and enjoy this edition of the magazine!
Dave Seeram Editor and Publisher
PhotographyBB Online Magazine
PhotographyBB online YO U R G U I D E T O T H E W O R L D O F D I G I TA L P H O T O G R A P H Y
In This Edition...
EDITORIAL: Dave Seeram, Editor in Chief Priscilla Ko, Creative Concepts and Design
Social Media for Photographers
WEB TEAM: Dave Seeram, Web Design & Publishing, Admin Ken, Chris, Greg, Site Moderator
Photography Around the World
PUBLISHING: Dave Seeram, Publisher & Author Jon Ayres, Contributing Writer Kenneth Fagan, Contributing Writer John Ogden, Contributing Writer Jennifer Farley, Contributing Writer Jason Anderson, Contributing Writer Gareth Glynn Ash, Contributing Writer Grady Layman, Contributing Writer Jay Livens, Contributing Writer Mike Frye, Contributing Writer
Photography for a Sunny Day ................................ Page 5
Photographers and Flickr ........................................ Page 6
New Zealandâ€™s Otago Rail Trail .............................. Page 8
Point & Shooters
Benefits of Point & Shoot Cameras ..................... Page 14
Skin Smoothing Technique .................................. Page 16
Auto Show Photography Techniques ............... Page 21
ON THE COVER: Dave Seeram, Cover Layout and Design Priscilla Ko, Cover Design & Consultation Cover Image, Courtesy of Alan Hough
Photo Retouching Tricks
Enhancing Blue Skies ......................................... Page 28
Licensing in Photography ............................... Page 31
Back to Basics
Fundamentals of Bridge and Lightroom ...... Page 32
Photographic Food for Thought
Blogging for Self Promotion ......................... Page 37
Digital Frames in Photoshop ...................... Page 38
PhotographyBB #331 - 6540 Hastings St. Burnaby, B.C. V5B 4Z5 CANADA ARTICLE SUBMISSION: To submit an article, or to request an article submission, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, email address, and a brief description of your article and ideas. We look forward to hearing from you.
Going Pro: The Photo-Preneur
HOW TO CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHYBB ONLINE: If you would like to contact PhotographyBB Online, please email: email@example.com or write:
PhotographyBB Online Magazine
Meet the PhotographyBB Team! SNAPSHOTS OF THE CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS AND PHOTOGRAPHYBB ONLINE MAGAZINE TEAM MEMBERS
DAVE SEERAM is the Editor of the PhotographyBB Online Website, PhotographyBB Forums, and Editor/Publisher of the PhotographyBB Online Magazine. Dave is also a digital photography and Photoshop enthusiast. PhotographyBB | Twitter | Facebook
JOHN OGDEN teaches digital photography, Photoshop and Lightroom in the UK. Published author and award winning photographer, John is also an Adobe products beta tester and member of the UKs Royal Photographic Society Portfolio | Books
JON AYRES is a digital photographer from the United States, now living in Moscow. He enjoys photography, writing, and history. Jon has been involved in writing, digital art and photography for over 30 years and is a published photographer and author. Blog | Flickr | RedBubble
GRADY LAYMAN is our resident portraiture specialist who always strives to create unique photographs. Never placing restraints on creativity, Grady enjoys hard work and collaborating with other creative people. Portfolio
MIKE FRYE is a talented photographer as well as avid blogger, flickrite, and social networking guru. Mike loves sharing knowledge, and showcasing talented photographers through his photography blog. Blog | Twitter | Flickr
JENNIFER FARLEY is a design instructor based in Ireland, and is the founder of Laughing Lion Design - a small design studio offering graphic and web design services, illustration and professional training in Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and InDesign. Blog | Twitter | Sitepoint Blog
KENNETH FAGAN is a photographer with a professional Diploma in Photography from the Focal Point School for Visual Arts in Vancouver. Ken works with many camera formats including, 35mm pro digital and film SLRS, medium format, and 4x5 large format. Blog | Twitter | Gallery
JASON ANDERSON is an active photographer, shooting primarily with Canon gear. His philosophy about photography is learning through the sharing of knowledge, and enjoys both the art of photography as well as his written pursuits. Blog | Twitter | Podcast
JAY LIVENS is a computer guy a heart who loves digital photography, working with Linux, and running his own personal blog. Jay is our go-to guy for all things technical relating to digital photography and computers. Blog | Gallery | Blipfoto
GARETH GLYNN ASH is an active digital photographer specializing in concert photography. Through Gareth’s unique photographic style, he is always able to capture images that tell a story. Gareth also runs a unique photo blog. Blog | Twitter | Gallery
Tom Crosman - “Blue Skies Tutorial” Alan Hough - Photography Around the World
Guest Contributors in this Edition:
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Confessions of a Photographer... EDITORIAL THOUGHTS, FACTS, AND OPINIONS FROM THE TEAM AT PHOTOGRAPHYBB.
PHOTOGRAPHY FOR A SUNNY DAY - By Kenneth Fagan
The usual excuse is that all local areas have been exhausted; there is nothing more to photograph. Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination and a different point of view. If you have run out of ideas for places to go near your home, try thinking of a theme. Themes allow you to photograph similar things in close proximity to one another. Such themes can be hard to come up with but I always find thinking small helps. You have probably already photographed all the bigger stuff in your area so do your best to come up with something new. Once you get started on a theme there will be no stopping you. A theme could be anything from doors to door knobs, gates, railings, even bicycles. I can remember a few years ago I did a theme on car number plates. They are all the same shape but everything else about them is different - colours, numbers and locations etc. There are so many recurring objects all around you; the only problem is deciding what you want to do with them. Start off with something simple. If you find you are having trouble getting it to look interesting, move on to something else. Keep trying until you hit something that really works for you. As I said before, it can be anything. It is so easy to say that there is nothing to photograph in your neighborhood. Take a look around some day, check things out. Bring your camera but don’t take pictures just for the sake of it. That is a waste of time. I often find myself taking my camera out days in a row, only to take one or two pictures. I often liken photography to the job of a poet. A poet can spend days, weeks, maybe even months on a single line of a verse. Why should it be any different for a photographer?
I am a firm believer in only photographing things I feel will work; I am far from snap-happy. While everyone around me has reached their 100th frame, I have usually only shot about a dozen maybe a bit less even. It’s not laziness; it’s just that when I have a camera in my hand I have usually planned out beforehand what I want to photograph. There is no reason why you can’t be the same. Motivate yourself into getting outside and seeking out stuff to photograph. Try not to bring a whole selection of lenses. I have learned over the years that it is a lot easier to photograph things with one versatile lens than a bunch of mismatches. Unless I am doing paid work, I rarely use my DSLR instead; I usually go for my trusty Pentax 645 medium format. I only have one lens for (a 75mm) it but it has got to that stage that I know I don’t need any more lenses for it. Simply because it seems to work on everything I photograph just the way I want it to. There are days when I am walking along the sea wall with my camera and I just don’t seem to see anything interesting. Then maybe a day or two later along the exact same route there may be many things to photograph. So don’t rule out a location on the back of one bad day. Railway tracks are a great location for photography too. Because they are always built on flat ground, you can get great perspective shots of parallel lines and sweeping curves. Maybe you will even see a rusty old freight train or two. Sometimes the pretty things aren’t always the best things to photograph. Rust and old wood may look rough in reality but take an element of that and put it in a photograph and you may have something special. Photography isn’t all about travelling for miles seeking out that great shot that will get admiration from your peers. Take a step back and go with simplicity, complex ideas can often hinder your ability to take good pictures. Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination to re-kindle your passion for the magic of photography.
Summer is nearly upon us, leaves have all returned to the trees and your coat has been demoted to wet-day usage. It is now time to wipe the dust off your camera, get out, and shoot. Many fair-weather photographers out there lack motivation to go out in the winter months and by the time summer rolls round it can be incredibly difficult to get back to taking pictures. This month I am sending out a few words of encouragement, because I also know how difficult it can be to get into a photography mood at times.
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Social Media for Photographers SOCIAL NETWORKING AND SELF-PROMOTION TECHNIQUES FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHER / ENTREPRENEUR
PHOTOGRAPHERS AND FLICKR™ - By Mike Frye When you are done with the set up portion you will be taken your Home page. The Home page is where you are given an overview of what you are up to, what your contacts are up to, and what is recently uploaded to the groups you have joined. We will discuss groups in just a moment.
There are several tools available to the photographer on Flickr. We will only discuss and handful here, but we would encourage you, just as we always do with all the social networking sites we present here, to get involved and experiment with what this great photo-sharing website has to offer. It would be well worth your time and efforts to get involved with this really wonderful place to interact with other photographers.
The Basics It is very easy to create an account on Flickr. You will need to create a Yahoo account (free) if do not already have one. Once you have done that, go to www.flickr. com and select the “Create an Account” button and you are on your way. You will be given the opportunity to put in a separate preferred e-mail account during the set up process if you would like. Flickr will provide you instruction on what to do next on the set up page (i.e. demographic information, a little about you, any personal website you would like to add, contact information, given the opportunity to upload photographs, etc…). Make sure you read everything you can initially about what Flickr is and how it Flickr works.
Making Contact Flickr is a photo-sharing website, but it is also a social network. Those with accounts on Flickr can view, comment on, and favorite the photographs of others. First, you will need to connect with a few people on Flickr, so you can begin viewing their photographic work and invite them to view yours. You can do this in several ways. Like many other social networking websites you can look up people who you may already know by having Flickr search you e-mail contact list. Another method in finding people you may already know is to search people by their real name. Sometimes photographers on Flickr do not use their real name, so finding people you know at times may be problematic. However, it is still an effect method. Another way to make contacts is to join your first group. You might start with the PhotographyBB Gallery Group on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/ groups/photographybb_gallery). To do this, simply select “Groups” from your Home page. There you will find the Find a Group box in the top right hand corner. Type “PhotographyBB Gallery” and select search. The PhotographyBB Gallery will be the first to come on the list that is displayed for you. Select it and find “Join this group” directly below the group title. Click on that and you will be asked if you really want to join. Last select “Yes”. Once you have joined the group, begin looking the through photographs that have been posted and find one you like or that appeals to you. Select it. Flickr will bring up the photograph in the photographers photostream. At this point you may want to make a comment on the photo or even make it a favorite by selecting “Add to Faves” just above the photo; upper left corner.
Flickr™ (www.flickr.com) is one of the Internet’s leading photography sharing websites. It is a place where every level of photographer can come together to share either a sample of some of the photos they have made, more of what they have made than less, or in some cases everything thing they have made. It is a place to comment on and sometimes critique, when requested, the photographs of others. More importantly it is a place where the fledgling photographer can gain exposure through making contacts with those who are more experienced.
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Just a note here, if the contact is a friend or family member, you can choose their appropriate role in this pop up box. Once you are done you have made the photographer a new contact and their photos will begin appearing on your Home page. The new contact may or may not add you as a contact as well.
Grouping Photographs in Sets For the amateur and professional, Flickr allows you to group your photographs in to sets. Why might this be important? The most popular use is for up and coming photographers who need a place to display their portfolios. Building a set to display your portfolio is very straightforward. Simply select the “Organize & Create” tab from the top of your Home page. You will be taken
to a page that displays the photographs you have uploaded along the bottom of the screen. Find the “Sets and Collections” tab at the top of the page and click on it. Then find “Create a new: collection or set” in the top left hand corner. Select “Set”. A set window will appear. Name your new set and then begin dragging and dropping the photographs you would like appear in the set in the window that says, “Drag and Drop…Here”. When you are finished placing all the photos you would like in the set, simply save it and you’re done! The set will now appear for others when they view your photostream. Your set also has its own web address, so if you would like to link to it from your own website you may. Flickr has a lot to offer to those at every skill level. The most important facet of Flickr is the opportunity to share you talents and abilities with others. Other opportunities reside in the sharing of information such as learning from someone who exhibits a skill set that you would like to learn, or in teaching others about your unique skill set. Either way Flickr is a great place to socialize and share as photographers on Internet.
This article is Copyright © and courtesy of Mike Frye. Please contact the author directly with any questions. “flickr” and the flickr™ logo are registered trademarks of flickr™ and copyright © 2010
To make the photographer a contact select their user name in the top right hand corner and it will take you to their full photostream. Look under their user name and you will find a link that says, “Add [user name] as contact” and click on it. An add contact pop up box will appear. Select “Add Contact”.
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Photography Around the World PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS OF OUR BEAUTIFUL AND MAGNIFICENT PLANET EARTH
CENTRAL OTAGO RAIL TRAIL: NEW ZEALAND - By Alan Hough
Incline riding to Tiger Hill and Omakau. (1/250 sec, f/8, 25mm, ISO 200)
The Clyde to Middlemarch railway was completed in 1907, built entirely by manual labour with picks, shovels and horse drawn wagons. A testament to the skills of the masons, carpenters, blacksmiths and the hardship the builders had to endure in the hottest and coldest region of New Zealand. The railway carried passengers, fruit, livestock and wool until the Clyde to Middlemarch line was eventually closed in 1990 and the tracks removed in 1991. The Department of Conservation purchased the
corridor of land in 1993 and it was from here local community figures created the idea of using the rail trail as a recreational facility. The Central Otago Rail Trail was officially opened in February 2000. When my friends, Susan and Grant, said they were going to ride the Central Otago Rail Trail, and invited myself and my wife Jan to go with them, I had to catch my breath to what they had just asked. Jan and I are keen bike riders, both on trail bikes and road bikes, and jumped at the idea without hesitation. Susan and Grant had not ridden bikes since their school days and we were now all into our fifties so it could prove to be a challenge. Because of the popularity of the Rail Trail you need to plan in advance so it was not until six months later we were at the Clyde railhead ready to pedal off. Jan and I had done our usual bike riding at home but our friends had not even looked at a bicycle let alone practice on one.
f you can ride a bike then you can ride the spectacular Central Otago Rail Trail, 150km long, running through the historically rich area of Central Otago, South Island New Zealand. People that ride or walk the Rail Trail take away their own special memories, discovering a tough adventurous history, harsh geography, natural beauty, local hospitality and an achievement of completing the 150km journey.
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The rail trail leaving Alexandra offers scenic views. (1/400 sec, f/7.1, 27mm, ISO 200)
Although the weather was unseasonably cold we were all suitably equipped for the drop in temperature and started off on our adventure from the Clyde railhead. The cold wind was on our back as we rode the first 8km from Clyde to Alexandra on a flat semirural landscape of vineyards, orchards and lifestyle blocks. Our first stop was at Alexandra for a well earned morning espresso. No complaints yet or sore bottoms so all was looking good. As you leave Alexandra the trail goes through a tough rocky landscape where gold miners mined in the winter as other diggings could not be reached due to the harsh weather. The landscape on one side of the trail is rocky and unforgiving with wild autumn skies and
Stamping the passport. (1/200 sec, f/8, 18mm, ISO 200)
to our left rolling countryside with autumn beginning to set on the willow trees that line the river. This is a great place to stop and take photos. My group rides by with ease on the well made local gravel surface and disappear around a bend. As I ride after them I imagine what the train ride must have been like because that is exactly what you ride on, the old railway line. I can see the puffing steam train as it winds its way through the rock cuttings hewn out by hand and explosives then carted away by horse drawn wagons. A hard unforgiving landscape and a labour intensive railway construction of a hardship that had no frills. Our first railway station is Galloway, a small wooden shed. We stop here for photos and our first stamp. For NZ$10 a passport can be purchased and at each railway station a box stands with a stamp inside where you mark your passport with the station name. An innovative and memorable way to collect funding as the purchase of the passport contributes towards the maintenance of the riding trail. On our bikes again and we ride 10km through a schist rock and wild thyme landscape, to what seems to be in the middle of nowhere, the Chatto Creek Hotel. It is lunchtime and the roaring fire inside the small historical hotel, built in 1886 of local rock, could not be more welcome. Lesleyâ€™s meals, from $8 to $20, are up to the accolades from other riders that have gone before. But we have to move on riding a further 12km to our first overnight stop on the trail at Omakau. If you forget to stamp your passport, it is not a problem
Clyde to Omakau (37km)
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Landscape riding towards Tiger Hill incline. (1/60sec, f/11, 18mm, ISO 200)
as you are able to catch up on any you have missed at Middlemarch. The Dunstan Mountains are to the north-west with a dusting of fresh snow; to the south-east is the Raggedy Range. We ride by water races built by gold miners to bring water to their mining claims now used by farmers to irrigate the farmland. Wide open country, quiet and peaceful with just the sound of crunching tyres on the well maintained gravel track. Green is the predominant colour of the New Zealand landscape, with pastures and native bush but here it is browns, golds and reds. With the fresh snow on the ranges, the wild autumn skies and the open rolling farmland, itâ€™s the perfect place to stop and take photos again. Riding at your own pace is one of the good things about riding the trail as it is surprising how
quickly the kilometres go by. Stopping to take things in or reading the local history at the many gangers sheds along the trail is easily done. A feature of this part of the trail are the two wide bends that ascend Tiger Hill giving riders a gentle climb to the top. The peak provides a well deserved rest and a look back below over the countryside we have just ridden taking in the majestic landscape. Back on our bikes it is a gentle downhill gradient to Tiger Hill Lodge at Omakau. Tiger Hill Lodge is accommodation indicative of the new life given to the small towns by the development of the Rail Trail. Approximately 100,000 people a year spend an hour or more walking or riding the trail with around 5,000 doing the multi-day Rail Trail experience.
Omakau to Ranfurly (55km) Enthusiastic, after our breakfast including stewed apricots, we pedal down into Omakau to the Muddy Creek CafĂŠ to buy their famous pies for lunch. We all have got through the first day with no ailments or complaints. With pies wrapped in newspaper to keep them warm, we are on the Rail Trail heading for Ranfurly. With the cold wind at your back, you soon become warmed from pedalling quickly engaged taking in the landscape with the snow dusted Dunstan Mountain Range views.
Looking back down the valley. (1/320 sec, f/8, 18mm, ISO 200)
PhotographyBB Online Magazine Stopping at the Lauder Hotel 7km down the trail provides an opportunity to have coffee with other riders. Sharing an experience that has removed us all from our normal daily lives and opening up an environment that never holds back on enlightening. After Lauder, the Rail Trail crosses the curved Manuherikia No.1 Bridge, the longest on the trail. I speed ahead for a photo opportunity as Jan, Susan and Grant ride across and stop midway to take in the scenery. We then travel into the Poolburn Gorge and ride through two tunnels cut through the schist rock. Again we are awakened to the tenacity of the railway builders and the harsh environment they endured. The first tunnel is an historical stop where you can view the remains of the workers camp marked by rock fireplace chimneys. The trail then crosses the Pool Burn on the impressive Poolburn Viaduct built with the local schist. The rock piers supporting the viaduct are all pointed with a masonâ€™s craftsmanship which is repeated on all construction along the Rail Trail. The viaduct is majestic as the natural landscape. We chat to other riders, photos are taken and it is back on the bikes as this is our longest day on the trail.
Manuheriki Bridge, curved concrete. (1/200 sec, f/8, 18mm, ISO 200)
After the gorge the trail slowly descends to the stations of Auripo and Ida Valley. We then cross the flat Ida Valley passing the Idaburn Dam famous for its winter curling competition and then a straight easy
The spectacular Poolburn Viaduct. (1/125sec, f/10, 18mm, ISO 200)
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Cattle at Wedderburn, the trail passes through a sheep/cattle station (a large farm). (1/60sec, f/6.3, 55mm, ISO 200)
ride to Oturehua. The homemade pies are still warm and eaten while reflecting on our mornings ride. We gather our wits, coffee from the historic Gilchrist’s store, and then back on our bikes still with 25km to go. An easy ascent to McKay’s Crossing takes us to the highest point on the trail, 618m above sea level. From McKay’s Crossing you make a gradual descent across the Maniototo Plains stopping at the station of Wedderburn set in a landscape of tussock farmland. Here, I wander off to take photos of the local cattle who all stare at me in a menacing way. It turns out to be one
of my better photos. There is excellent accommodation here and a much spoken about pub but we have to ride on another 13km to Ranfurly. The strong wind behind blows us across the plain but we still stop to take in the scenery, take photos and wait for our friends. The wind is strong and cold, the skies are wild but this is all part of the landscape; not a riding challenge but an opportunity of discovery. Our friends catch us up and away we go again the wind making a fast ride through farmland to the tidy art deco town of Ranfurly. By the fire in the hotel we drink a different Central Otago Pinot Noir and swap experiences with other riders. The hospitality is pure Central Otago.
Ranfurly to Hyde (33km)
Wedderburn Station. (1/200 sec, f/6.3, 18mm, ISO 200)
Overnight the wind had gone so we set off on a still, cold morning across the flat farming landscape towards Hyde. All is well with the riders after the longest day on the bike and we settle into a steady pace for 7.5km to Waipiata. It is back into the rugged landscape as we ride an easy uphill gradient then cross the historic Cap Burn Bridge built of schist rock, another work of art. Travelling through the gorge you cross the contemporary Price’s Creek Viaduct, which
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Photo into: 1/500sec, f/7.1, 18mm, ISO 200
The Hyde Hotel appears as you round the bend. Due to the Rail Trail, the hotel was restored and is now an oasis of excellent accommodation, dining and cafe. With an easy downhill gradient you soon gather momentum sweeping across the curved railway bridge then cross the main road to the Hyde Hotel.
Hyde to Middlemarch (28km) We hit breakfast early and are back on the trail by 9am. The air is cold and fresh but is soon forgotten as you warm up pedalling and start taking in the scenery which is now turning into rolling farm country. This is a downhill gradient to Middlemarch and the kilometres speed by as the railway has an easy run over the Straith Taieri Plain to the flat pastures of Middlemarch. To the right, a dusting of snow covers the Rock and Pillar Range, dominating the skyline of our dead straight 6km ride to Middlemarch. This is the longest
straight run on the trail. A feeling of disappointment arrives with the realisation that the Rail Trail is coming to an end. But it is a good feeling of disappointment as we feel we could have ridden further and that the enjoyment of the whole experience has not become an ordeal or a repetitive venture. Every bend, bridge, tunnel, straight, station and railway cutting presents a different perspective, a different view, a different landscape and a different sky. The central Otago Rail Trail is not just a bike ride but an enlightening experience of nature, a testament to pioneering achievement, local hospitality and meeting fellow riders with a common thread. Townships once dying are alive with vitality. Offering first rate accommodation and facilities based on a conservation project that not only has restored a heritage of the railways but created an environment where communities can grow and contribute. For More Info (click): Central Otago Rail Trail Trust Department of Conservation Best time to travel : The Trail is negotiable at any time of year but can be extremely cold in the winter. Due to the popularity of the Rail Trail planning and booking your trip well in advance is recommended
This article and images contained are Copyright ÂŠ and courtesy of Alan Hough. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
replaced an earlier wooden bridge. Soon after you enter the 150m Priceâ€™s Creek tunnel; taking it slowly you can get through without a torch. The steam train must have been a spectacular sight as it burst out the other end blowing smoke and hissing steam as it gathered speed to make Hyde in good time.
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THE BENEFITS OF OWNING A
POINT & SHOOT
- By Jay Livens
I fell in love with my first dSLR. The control, image quality and rapid capture were superior to any P&S and I swore that I was done with P&S cameras. A year later, I realized that there are plenty of occasions where a photograph is desired, but carrying a large dSLR was not an option. The only choice was a P&S to augment my dSLR. Today, I am a proud owner of a Canon Powershot G10. It produces high quality images and is small and portable. It is an ideal travel companion and accompanies me on every business trip. I could not imagine making the trek (all the time) with my dSLR and assorted lenses.
If you are deciding to add a P&S to your kit, here are some key considerations:
Size P&S cameras come in a bewildering range of sizes. A key consideration is that as the camera shrinks, it provides smaller controls, lenses and sensors. This can lead to reduced image quality especially when it comes to highly dense 15 MP+ sensors. Low light situations are particularly troublesome due to poor high ISO performance and
weak flashes. This is an important consideration as larger P&S’s will often perform better since they are not as space constrained and typically contain a larger image sensor. The other consideration is control. Smaller cameras provide the fewest manual controls and are designed for the photographer to simply push the button. If you are looking for a camera that offers extensive adjustability like your dSLR then you may want to look at a more advanced P&S (sometimes referred to as “bridge cameras”). However, these added features will always come with a larger size and increased weight. The importance of size should not be overlooked. If you are the kind of person who is sensitive to fashionability or carrying extra stuff, then the small size could be a critical consideration. It gets back to the point in the introduction; if you are unwilling to carry a camera because it is too big then it does not matter how bad or good the image quality is!
Controls As a dSLR owner, I am used to the ability to constantly tinker with camera controls including aperture, exposure compensation, ISO and autofocus. In the world of P&S cameras your ability to adjust settings is highly dependent on the camera. For example, my G10 allows for a very large number of configuration options while my wife’s Kodak has one operation: “push the button.” This may or may not be problem for you, but you should keep this in mind especially if you are a tinkerer like me. The other consideration with feature-packed cameras like my G10 is that the small size limits access. The camera has so many features and so little surface area that you have to resort to accessing numerous embedded menus and buttons to enable or disable desired features. It becomes exceedingly difficult to memorize all of the
n last month’s edition, I discussed some of the key criteria to consider when purchasing a new digital SLR (dSLR). DSLR cameras provide the most flexibility and best image quality. However, the smallest dSLR is much larger than the smallest point and shoot (P&S) camera which brings up an important consideration - You cannot capture the image if you don’t have your camera. This suggests that you should always carry your camera, but large dSLRs are not conducive to portability. I find that a high quality P&S can serve as an ideal complement to a dSLR for those occasions where you want to travel light.
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What is the right choice? As in most things, there is no absolute answer. You must weigh your requirements and budget to decide which option is best for you. The biggest question you need to address is size. Size is an absolute and will impact everything else. For example, if you want the smallest camera possible then manual controls and RAW image files will not be an option. Conversely, if size is not your priority then you could go with a medium size P&S “bridge camera” like the G10 and get the full range of controls plus the RAW option. The other consideration is that camera brand is less important. With a P&S, you are not buying into a system, but are purchasing a one-off item. For example, if you shoot Nikon dSLRs, there is no reason for you to favor a Nikon P&S over a Canon one unless you are adamant that the camera must use the same RAW conversion software (if it shoots RAW) as your dSLR.
RAW Capable? I wrote previously about the benefits of RAW images. They provide an improvement in image processing and dynamic range. RAW is a standard option on all dSLRs and is a feature of few P&S cameras. If RAW is important to you then you must carefully research the options. Also keep in mind that even if your P&S shoots RAW, you may need to install a separate RAW processing program to convert the output to JPEG. One of the nice features of the G10 is that it uses the same RAW conversion program as my Canon dSLRs.
What about my camera phone? Cell phone cameras make me cringe. Do not get me wrong, they are great for spur of the moment images when you have no other option, but the image quality is mediocre at best. If you have nothing else then it is better than no picture, but do not expect to create a high quality print. This may not be problem if your only goal is to share the images electronically. However, I believe that you never know when that perfect photographic moment appears and shooting it with a cell phone camera is only marginally better than not shooting it at due to the poor image quality.
Recommended purchase process: Buying a P&S camera is much less of a commitment than buying into a dSLR system. As a first step, you should assess your size needs. Once have this information, you can begin your research on the Internet. There are plenty of good sites with camera reviews and one of my favorites is DPreview. com. DPreview provides extensive camera analyses from the perspective of a photographer and will help narrow your choices. Once you have a short list of options in mind, I would suggest that you go to a camera store to handle the cameras. Actual handson experience is critical since camera designs vary widely and a camera that was reviewed well may not be ideal for you. Additionally, it is vital to understand the actual size of the cameras you are considering. Ideally, you should also bring a memory card to the store and take pictures with each camera which you can view and compare at home. This process while lengthy will ensure that you get the right camera the first time and do not end up with buyer’s remorse. In summary, a P&S camera is an important complement to an existing dSLR kit. You will rarely find an experienced photographer without a P&S camera either in their bag or close by. If anything, the convenience factor is the main reason you should have one. The process of selecting one can be complex, but by following the steps in this article you can simplify the process and ensure that you get the camera to meet your needs for years to come.
This article and images contained are Copyright © and courtesy of Jay Livens. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
features and required button combinations to enable them. I have chosen a few that I use most frequently and memorized those keys. Ironically, this is an area where the larger and often more complex dSLR works better because it has room for many more buttons to allow for rapid adjustments.
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Portraiture Photography 101 TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FOR PORTRAITURE PHOTOGRAPHY AND LIGHTING
SOFT-SKIN PORTRAITURE PROCESSING: By Grady Layman When it comes to portrait photography, you always want your subjects to look as good as possible. Portrait photographers use many different techniques in order to crate stunning images. Interesting locations, motivational lighting, and proper camera angles all can help improve your portraits. However, there are also several post processing techniques that can take your images to the next level. One of my personal favorites is the “Soft Skin” effect.
his Soft Skin tutorial will help improve any images where your subject’s face fills most of the frame. This is achieved by using two simple blur filters. When these two filters are used together they will smoothly blend skin tones as well as cover up minor imperfections. Step 1: Open your image in Photoshop. I decided to pick an image where the face fills most of the frame, although your image doesn’t have to be this close to see good results. This image wasn’t horrible straight out of the camera. However, I knew that I could make several improvements in Photoshop to the model’s skin. Most people’s skin is not perfect and will require some level of touch-ups. Step 2: Cleaning Up Blemishes The next thing you will want to do is clean up any major blemishes. Start by creating a copy of the “background” layer. You can quickly do this by clicking and dragging the “background” layer down to the “create new layer” icon. I also find it helpful to rename the new layer. For my image, I decided to name my new layer “healing_layer”.
Next you will want to select the “Healing Brush” tool and start cleaning up the image. There are a lot of tips on how to use the healing brush tool; however, they are beyond the scope of this tutorial.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine This is how my image looked after cleaning up the large skin spots, wrinkles, and a few moles. Sometimes you will also need to fix bags under the eyes or anything else that doesn’t look right. Keep in mind that this layer is the base layer that the rest of the tutorial will build on top of. The more you clean up now the better your image will turn out in the end.
Step 3: Copy the “Healing_layer” Now you can drag the “healing_layer” down to the “create new layer” icon. This will automatically create a new layer called “healing_layer copy” on top of your previous layer. Again, I find it helpful to rename the new layer. For this layer I decided to name it “Surface Blur”. This will help keep your layers organized as you start to add more and more layers.
Step 4: Adding the Surface Blur Filter Now that you have created the new “Surface Blur” layer, you can add a surface blur filter. Go to the top of the screen and select the Filter, then Blur, then Surface Blur.
The Surface Blur adjustment window should now automatically pop-up. The settings will be different for every image. However, for most of my images I stay close to a Radius = 24 pixels and a Threshold = 35 levels. This is something that you should play with to get a good feel for what you like. Keep in mind that we will remove the blur effect on the eyes and lips later. Once you think things look good, then you can commit by click the “OK” button.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine Step 5: Adjust the Opacity You will now want to adjust the Opacity on the “Surface Blur” layer. This will allow good blending between the “Surface Blur” layer and the below “healing_layer”. For my image I set it to 64%. However, I typically stay within the range of 50%-75%.
Step 6: Create a Layer Mask The next step is to create a layer mask for the “surface blur” layer. You want to make sure that you have selected the “surface blur” layer (you should see it highlighted). Then click on the “add layer mask” button at the bottom of the layers pallet window. Now it is time to select the brush tool and start removing areas that you don’t want to be blurred such as the eyes, lips, and hair. Make sure the brush color is set to black (D). Also, I typically set the opacity around 4%-10%. This setting works well when blending. It will require you to make several passes. For areas like the eyes, I will re-set the opacity (somewhere around 50%). This is because I want the eyes as sharp as possible. When black is painted on the layer mask, it will allow the layer below to show through. Thus, “hiding” the blur layer where you are painting with black.
Step 7: Adding Gaussian Blur This is just like step #3. Click and drag the “Healing_ layer” down to the bottom of the layer pallet window, and drop it on the “create new layer” button. You new layer should automatically be placed between the “Healing_Layer” and the “Surface Blur” layer. Now would be the time to rename this new layer. I decided to name my layer “Gaussian Blur”. Go to the top of the screen and select Filter, then Blur, then Gaussian Blur.
Just like the Surface Blur filter, the Gaussian Blur filter window will automatically open. I like to keep
PhotographyBB Online Magazine my Radius settings around 4.5-5.5 pixels. However, it is good to play with these settings. You may need different settings to make your image look the best. When you are ready to commit, then click the “OK” button and wait for the filter to load. Now you will need to adjust the opacity of the entire “Gaussian Blur” layer (just like step #5). I decided to set the opacity setting around 45% for the Gaussian layer. Once you lower the opacity you will see how it allows the lower layer to show though. This should also make the image appear sharper because you are seeing more of the “healing_layer”. The next step is to grab a brush and start painting out areas that you want to appear sharper. Make sure your brush is set to black with the opacity setting around 10%. Your painting doesn’t have to be perfect. If you paint too much black on any layer mask you can simply change the color to white and fix everything. You can see in this screenshot exactly where I painted on the layer masks. My main focus was keeping the eyes and lips sharp, so I painted a lot of black in those areas. Your image will dictate where exactly you will be painting black. Sometimes I will also keep sections of the hair in focus. Step 8: Final Adjustments I created one layer for each blur filter so that I can adjust these layers independently. It’s also important to be able to see how each layer has impacted the image. I constantly turn on and off each layer to double check how things look. You can never tell exactly how the images will react to the blur filters. Having multiple layers allows me to return back to each layer and make adjustments as needed. Sometimes I will even switch the stacking order of the two blur filter layers. For some images this will make the skin smoother and appear more natural. Step 9: Adding Selective Contrast To complete my image, I decided some areas need a little more contrast. More specifically I wanted some of the shadows to be richer. I also wanted to create more contrast in the eyes. The eyes will be what will draw attention to the models face and I really want these to make a statement.
To add selective contrast, create a new blank layer on top of all other layers. You can do this by clicking on the “create new layer” button at the bottom of the screen. This will create an invisible layer over all of your other layers.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine You can now select the brush tool. For this effect you will be using both colors (black and white). Any area painted with black will deepen the shadows and any area painted with white will brighten the highlights. Make sure that you are using a soft brush and a very low opacity setting (around 1%-3%). It is important to remember that this effect will only work for minor adjustments. If you try to add too much of either color it will become muddy and look bad. Sometimes I will create two blank layers and name one “White” and the other “Black” (or “highlights” and “shadows”). This really helps when you are doing a lot of painting because any mistakes can simply be fixed. If you make a mistake when you are working on one layer then you may have to start completely over. You can see how much work was done to the eyes. I have added more white around the eyes and added more contrast to the color pigment. You can do this with a very small brush and using both black and white colors. With female models I also like to darken eye liner and/or other make-up. For this image, I also wanted her hair to focus your attention more towards the eyes. I was able to achieve this by darkening most of the shadows in the hair.
This article and images contained are Copyright © and courtesy of Grady Layman. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
This is just one technique for softening skin in post processing. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and are able to put it to good use on all of your stunning portraits!
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Digital Photography 101 A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES AND CONCEPTS
The Lamborghini Gallardo. Background removed in photoshop due to distracting elements. Photo info:.1/15 sec, f4, 31mm, ISO 800
8 TIPS TO ‘REV-UP’ AUTO-SHOW PHOTOGRAPHY: By Dave Seeram
In addition to the variety of wonders available, photographing an auto-show also introduces a number of challenges for the photographer. I’ll be bold enough to say that in every case, auto-shows are busy, and thus limit the mobility of a photographer. Large crowds and often unwanted in-the-way “spectators” will be a challenge to deal with, along with the low lighting
conditions (for indoor shows), barriers around certain cars, and an whole slew of background distractions which we want to keep to a minimum in our photos.
Tip 1: Bring One Lens ONLY As you can imagine, an auto-show is a very busy place to be. For this reason, it’s easiest to work with a single lens, preferably a wide angle lens with some zoom range. All of the photos taken in this article were taken with a Pentax 16-45mm wide angle lens. The advantages of working with a single lens are clear; you won’t need to lug around a heavy camera bag or backpack, which can be both frustrating and difficult when navigating through the crowds of other attendees and photographers. Also, you won’t need to
ne of the most exciting types of photo opportunities is attending an auto-show. Whether you are into cars or not, an autoshow provides a unique array of photo opportunities unavailable anywhere else! Besides imagining yourself behind the wheel of a fancy Lamborghini (or in some cases, actually getting to sit inside them), auto-shows offer a variety of textures, colours, and shapes to thrill the photographer’s senses.
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Eliminate distractions and unwanted elements by shooting up close with a wide-angle lens. Photo info: 1/60 sec, f 4, 45mm, ISO 800
deal with the hassle of switching lenses mid shoot in a crowded environment. Working with the limitation of a single lens actually frees you from the variety of decisions when carrying multiple lenses, allowing you to focus on the task at hand and really find your shots. I personally recommend a wide angle lens due to the shooting environment. With a wide angle lens, you are able to get much closer to your subjects (the cars), which can help when limiting the number of people standing between you and the cars. If you were shooting with a focal length any longer than 50mm or so, you would have to stand further back to capture the entire car in your frame, and itâ€™s just neither polite nor possible to ask everyone around you to stand out of the way while you get your shot.
checking them out, a full length shot of a car often produces a less than exciting photograph of the vehicle. Due to the lack of space and mobility, you can often only get one or two good angles which capture the entire vehicle, and if you donâ€™t have other (perhaps unwanted) people in your shots, the results are less than flattering. Have no fear, you can still take some stunning photos which show off the personality of the cars, by showing off the details! Think of shooting details in terms of photographing people. We all have characteristics which show off our individual personalities, be it an expression, smile,
Wide angle lenses also produce some slight distortions, which are particularly flattering in the case of shooting automobiles. You can get some very cool effects by shooting at the widest possible focal length, and positioning your camera close to the vehicle.
Tip 2: Shoot the Details Page 22
While enjoying an auto-show, you will often find that while the cars look pretty cool as you stand there
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When shooting an auto-show, find unique details to capture. Photo info: 1/6 sec, f 4, 26mm, ISO 800
Besides the physical shape of the cars, what makes them differ from the other cars? Perhaps it’s a uniquely styled headlight? An interesting logo (or placement of the logo)? Perhaps the vehicle has some details in the wheels which would make for an interesting shot? Find the smaller details and capture them to show off the personality and individuality of the cars.
Tip 3: Shoot Interesting Angles
There are times where straight-on shots are great, but one of the most appealing things about automobiles are their shape, and that can best be captured when shooting from different angles. Many car manufacturers attempt to infuse a certain personality type into the designs of their vehicles. In the case of sports cars (the predominant type of cars in an auto-show), the styling is meant to be aggressive, fast, and / or sleek. There are some techniques you can employ to help bring out these traits in the vehicles by shooting them from certain angles. Typically, lowering your point of view gives the car a more authoritative presence. Get down nice and low, and shoot from an angle to capture the unique shapes of the vehicles. If you are shooting a straight on front, back, or side shot, try crouching or kneeling so that your camera is at waist level. This will help to produce a nice photo of the vehicle without the illusion of “looking down” on it. Shooting at eye level tends to make the subject look smaller, which is completely the opposite intention for most auto-show photos. You can also try tilting your camera to one side, which is known more commonly as the “dutch-angle.” Shooting “tilted” can produce some really unique car
our eyes, etc... These are the details, as opposed to a full body shot. The same holds true with any type of photography, especially auto-show photography.
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Shooting from tilted and/or low angles can also produce some interesting effects. Photo info: 1/30 sec, f4, 16mm, ISO 200.
photography which will help your photos to stand out from the rest. One word of warning though: Save your dutch-angle shots for the cars which really deserve to be shown off in style. Often times, if you post a series of photos into your online gallery, dutch-angle shots can become tiresome to the eyes of your viewers. Save them for your best shots (or favourite subjects), and they will produce a high visual impact that will leave your viewers wanting more!
environment of the interiors of the vehicles. Look for details, and find interiors which are different or more unusual compared with most vehicles. Also, if you are able to shoot from the back seat, you will be able to capture more of the console and dashboard areas. Again, this is why using a wide angle lens is so important in an auto-show; the limited space of being inside a vehicle will be no problem for you with a nice wide angle lens to shoot with.
Tip 4: Remember the Interior One thing that many photographers neglect when shooting auto-shows, are the interiors of the vehicles. In many cases, you are allowed to get inside different cars and experience what it would be like to be behind the wheel. Once inside, youâ€™ll find there are a multitude of visual masterpieces just aching to be photographed.
To shoot some stunning visual interiors, youâ€™ll most likely want to lower your ISO setting in and around the ISO 800 mark. This will help with the lower lighting
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Tip 5: Dealing with Challenges Shooting an auto-show can be one of the most challenging types of photography, since they are usually packed with spectators, and everyone wants to see the most interesting cars of the bunch. While this presents many difficulties, there are ways you can limit distracting elements from being in your shots. People: By shooting with a wide angle lens, you will be able to minimize the amount of people, by standing closer to the vehicles. It’s important to be considerate of others at all times, so patience is a must when shooting an auto-show. Part of your job (or duty even) as a photographer is to find your shots, not force them. Look for lulls or breaks between crowds, and get your shots during these times. Often you will only be afforded only seconds to shoot, and practice shooting in split seconds will ultimately help you to grow as a photographer. Lighting: Indoor auto-shows often present a unique set of challenges for the photographer. Low lighting conditions mean that you are either going to need to shoot with a low ISO or a wide aperture in order to gather enough light in your images. There are several ways to deal with this, and experienced shooters are free to use manual mode to adjust on the fly. For beginners, I recommend finding a shutter speed for which you are able to shoot handheld without introducing camera shake into your shots. Once you know the slowest shutter speed you can shoot at without camera shake, set your camera to Shutter Priority (Tv or T) and select that shutter speed, (or slightly faster). Your camera will take care of the rest of the ISO and Aperture settings, allowing you the freedom of shooting at your comfortable shutter speed. There are times where you may wish to capture something in a certain way, for example, blurring the background. In cases like these, you can change the camera mode to Aperture Priority (Av or A) and set your aperture appropriately. These two camera modes will be your best friend at a fast paced, busy environment like an auto-show.
Reflections: Let’s face it, cars are beautiful, shiny reflective works of art, thus presenting a photographer with another set of challenges. Eliminating reflections from your shot will be near-impossible as a spectator. You won’t be able to have the luxury of using a diffuser, specialized lighting, or shooting from any angle you desire. The only thing you can to eliminate unwanted reflections is to find the best available angle which works for you. Try to avoid shooting angles or positions where reflective lights are obscuring important details like logos on the vehicles. Reflections are unavoidable, but if you position yourself such that the reflections appear on a smooth part of the vehicle, you can easily eliminate them during post-processing.
Tip 6: Get Creative Auto-shows are all about style and fun, which is a great opportunity for you to get creative with some of your shots. We’ve already looked at shooting from different angles, and there are some other techniques you can use for making creative photos. Sometimes reflections can also be a good thing in your auto-show photos. Look beyond just the vehicles
I would also recommend avoiding the use of flash at all costs. While you certainly may need the additional lighting provided by a flash, the fact is that flash photos of shiny metallic objects will just introduce flash hotspots reflected back to your camera.
Space: Again, a wide angle will help in dealing with the crowds and small space between vehicles. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when crouching low to shoot from different angles. Patience will yield the best results when working in a tightly spaced environment.
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The zoom-blur technique is lots of fun at auto-shows. Photo info: 1/15 sec, f4, ISO 800.
and find some interesting reflections in them to shoot. When you make yourself aware of reflections, you literally open up a whole new door of creative possibilities.
detail in their reflection. One thing you can do is make a selection of the windshield area and fill it with black, and apply a slight blur to mute any distractions.
Also, one of the reasons I recommend using a zoom lens is because auto-shows are the perfect place to shoot those “zoom-blur” photos as seen here. Shots like these are taken by zooming in on a detail in the center of your frame, setting a slower shutter speed such as 1/6 second, and pressing the shutter while zooming out during the exposure. You’ll want to zoom quickly without shaking your camera around during the shot, which is why shutter speeds longer than 1/6 second aren’t ideal. This technique takes a lot of practice to get the zooming vs shooting timing just right, but when you do, it’s worth it!
Distracting backgrounds or people in your shots can often be a real eye-sore for an otherwise beautiful photo. Sometimes, the only way to keep your stunning car shot is to delete the background entirely. The lead image of the yellow lamborghini at the start of this article had a very distracting background. The only way I was able to salvage the image was to delete the background and add a slight “outer glow” around the car.
As mentioned previously, post processing can help when removing unwanted reflections in your photos. While we’re not going to explore individual “how-to” processing techniques (we’ll save them for another article), some of the things you may wish to be aware of when processing auto-show photos are: Reflections of lights/spotlights which can be cloned out or eliminated with the healing brush, or Adobe’s cool new “Content-Aware Fill” in CS5. Windshield reflections will often show “too much”
Lastly, remember to photograph the venue where the auto-show is being held. Part of attending an autoshow is the location and the buzz of activity in the crowd. Shooting the showcase floor can give a sense of size and excitement at the event, which is why you want to be there in the first place! I hope you have enjoyed these tips on auto-show photography and give them a try even if cars are not really “your thing.” As a beginner, trying different genres of photography and shooting techniques will ultimately help you to improve in areas of your favourite type of photography, regardless of the subject matter. Through this process of practice and experience, we all learn to see more creatively and shoot beautiful photos to be proud of.
This article and all images contained are Copyright © and courtesy of Dave Seeram. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
Tip 7: Processing Can Help!
Tip 8: Photograph the Venue
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Photo Retouching Tricks TECHNIQUES, TIPS, AND TRICKS FOR POST PROCESSING DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHS
BLUE SKIES SMILING AT ME! - By Tom Crosman Deep blue skies grab more attention than pale blue dismal looking skies. Most everyone knows that using a circular polarizer filter increases color saturation and makes skies appear a deeper blue. There are also some other simple ways to make skies a richer blue. One technique is to use a graduated neutral density filter which darkens the sky; however, sometimes ND grad filters can darken other areas such as mountainous landscapes, which of course is undesirable. Another in-camera technique besides the polarizer is to underexpose the sky.
Since the sky is typically one of the brightest areas of an image, the question becomes, how can we underexpose the sky without making the rest of the image underexposed as well? Use a flash to light the subject. This technique wonâ€™t work for all shots but can be useful for images where you have a subject close to the camera and a lot of sky in the background. Adjust the exposure so the subject is properly exposed and the sky naturally becomes deeper blue. In the first image shown here, I used the on-camera flash to light the tree trunk on the left. You can simulate underexposing the sky in Adobe Camera Raw quite easily by lowering the luminescence of the blue channel. This technique works best with images where the sky and its reflections are the only blue in the image. Here is an example of the tab in Adobe Camera Raw for making this adjustment. Our next example will demonstrate a similar technique with a small twist. Shown here is a raw image with the ACR default adjustments.
(See next page for processing adjustments)
PhotographyBB Online Magazine In this case, I’ve lowered the luminescence of the blue channel by 41 points. I’ve also increased the blue saturation 22 points, making the blue areas of the sky much deeper. I wouldn’t normally drop the luminescence this much as over-doing it can introduce noise into the areas affected. I did it here simply to make the change more obvious.
If you have other areas of blue in an image which you DO NOT want to impact, you can make the adjustments using layers in Photoshop. This technique requires good selection or masking skills. Here’s an example where we want to only change the blue in the sky, but not in the foreground water.
The sky can be carefully selected using any of the available tools (lasso, pen/paths, quick mask). Next, press CTRL+J (PC) or Command-J (Mac) to create a new layer containing the selection. Here’s what this new layer looks like. I’ve turned off the background layer in this to better demonstrate the selection. If you were using layer masks instead of making a selection, you would simply duplicate the background layer and mask out everything but the sky in the duplicated layer.
Next, I’ve turned on the background layer, and changed the blending mode of the duplicated layer to ‘Multiply’. You can now experiment with the layer opacity to reduce the effect as desired.
As mentioned, this technique requires some selection and/or masking skills beyond the scope of this tutorial. The results of using this method provide a more targeted process which is important if your image contains other areas of blue which you would rather not affect while enhancing the sky.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine Next, let’s have a look at simulating a graduated neutral density filter, using Photoshop. In this photo, the pale blue sky in the image could use some improvement. First I duplicated the background layer. Then I double clicked on the duplicate layer (in the layers palette) to bring up the Layer Styles dialog box, and selected ‘Gradient Overlay’ from the list of options on the left.
The default settings will bring up a gradient overlay similar to the one shown here. Since every image is going to be different, some minor adjustments will be made to tailor this gradient to mimic the effects of a graduated neutral density lens filter.
Click on the dropdown arrow next to the gradient, and select the ‘Foreground to translucent’ gradient. You’ll also want to check the “Reverse” checkbox and adjust the angle to closely match the angle in your horizon if necessary. You can also change the position of the gradient by clicking and dragging on your image while the dialog box is still open. Changing the ‘Scale’ also helps to adjust the “area” over which the gradient transitions. Lastly, change the blending mode to ‘Overlay.’
Here is a before / after look at the results of using this technique. There you have it! I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and can use one of these techniques to make your blue skies smile at you!
This article and all images contained are Copyright © and courtesy of Tom Crosman. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
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Going Pro: The Photo-Preneur HOW TO GO FROM AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER TO ENTREPRENEURIAL PROFESSIONAL
PHOTOGRAPHY LICENSING - By Jason Anderson
Now that I have your attention, it helps to gain a little perspective. Primarily because there are so many terms bandied about when it comes to licensing and usage, fees and rights, that it can be very difficult to navigate the jungle of not only what to charge, but which licensing approach will work best for you and your style of work. Well, fear not fellow photographers, because here is a primer on the basics of licensing your work! While this is not legal advice, consider it a resource that you can use as a springboard or basis for understanding. First off, let’s get a handle on what exactly the term “licensing” means. Licensing (in a very general sense) means that you are giving permission to print your work. Whether that permission is granted to an individual or a company can define particular licensing options for you, in the end, it is permission to re-print or re-use your work that licensing grants the buyer. (Yes, this means you as the photographer are the seller!) Also, as a general rule, if the buyer wants to use your work a lot (say National Geographic wants to print it in their magazine, on their website, and include in videos and email flyers) then you can usually command a higher price than someone who just wants to buy a single print of your work (smaller usage). So, more use equates to a higher fee. Now that we know what licensing is, and how pricing in general is structured, let’s take a look at some of the more common forms of licensing that you will see. There are several categories of licensing and it can get confusing when you start to cross
categories, so let’s talk about categories first so we can distinguish all the elements involved. The first categorization generally used is between commercial use and non-commercial use. Other categorizations include Rights Managed and Royalty Free. Before delving into details on other types of licensing available, let’s cover briefly what each of these means.
Commercial Licensing Commercial licensing means that whoever is purchasing wants to turn around and make money off your images. They are likely going to redistribute usually in the form of print publications like magazines, corporate papers (like annual reports, brochures, and other types of media that is distributed to a decent sized audience like their stockholders, prospective clients, etc.). As a general rule of thumb, the wider the distribution (more copies of your pictures are being printed/used), the higher the fee for usage.
Non-Commercial Licensing Conversely, a non-commercial usage generally means that the use is not going to be generating any money for the person/company that is buying the license. It also means that the image purchased will not be redistributed elsewhere, and this is usually part of the terms of the license. Here, a good example would be a medical office buying an image to hang on their wall, a church making a flyer, or some other instance like that. The church print is a much narrower distribution (a.k.a. usage), and thus, the fee will not be as high as it would for the commercial work in the publication distributed to stock holders. If you think that was a lot of reading, there’s so much more! Licensing can be customized by an attorney for pretty much any use! You can cross any of these and get a literal jungle of licensing protocols, including others like First Use, One Time Use, and much more! Attorneys are available that specialize in licensing and copyright. If you really want to get into the gritty details, talk with them - This is just a beginning dialog!
This article and all images contained are Copyright © and courtesy of Jason Anderson. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
kay, so maybe the whole idea of licensing is not something that really gets your blood flowing or your juices churning, and while it does not seem all that exciting, how you present your work to be sold can make the difference between making $10 for an image or several thousand dollars over a lifetime. Think about that for a minute – from ten dollars to several thousand dollars if you take the time to consider licensing for more than a minute! That’s a lot of money!
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BACK TO BASICS: PHOTOSHOP & LIGHTROOM FUNDAMENTALS - By John Ogden You may have noticed that modern photography magazines almost always have a tutorial featuring Photoshop techniques. PhotographyBB Online Magazine is no exception with some great tutorials every month. Having taught Photoshop for a few years, I recently came to realise that there might be something missing... a strong foundation of the basic skills and techniques that, once learned, will make following those tutorials a breeze. It was this realisation that inspired this new series based on my recently published book “Get to Grips with Photoshop CS5” available via Blurb.com. So join me as we get back to basics, starting this month with downloading your images using either Adobe Bridge or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
Adobe Photoshop is the visual design industry standard software for a wide range of graphic and photographic image manipulation projects. Photoshop is a part of a wider suite of specialist applications from Adobe collectively known as the “Creative Suite” or “CS”. At the time of writing the current version of Photoshop CS5 has just been released. This is the fifth iteration since the Creative Suite brand was introduced. The activities illustrated in this series primarily show the new CS5 interface but will work equally well with CS3 and CS4. Where there are obvious differences I will explain as we go along. When you install Photoshop you will typically get some additional applications installed along with it: • Adobe Bridge including “Photo Downloader”: a file browsing programme that facilitates downloading and some asset management (from CS4 onward Bridge also
includes some of the output components e.g. printing, contact sheets, web galleries etc.) • Adobe Camera Raw (ACR): A Raw converter similar to, but more advanced than, the one provided with your DSLR. From CS3 onwards, ACR be also used to process JPGs and other files. ACR version 6 (available for CS5) also included additional effects like “Grain”. The depth and breadth of the processing elements of this software group mean that very similar effects can be achieved in many different ways. There are typically three of four ways to achieve the same enhancement or even to select a particular tool. As you work with the software you may develop your own preferences and change them as you progress, try not to get frustrated when you discover new, easier ways to achieve the same result, it simply means you are learning to work more efficiently and building on your deeper understanding of the way digital image processing works in Photoshop.
Working with Adobe Photoshop
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Downloading with Bridge and Lightroom Getting photos onto your PC using Bridge: Starting in Bridge and with your card reader ready, choose ”Get photos from Camera” from the file menu. This will launch the Photo Downloader. Click on the “Advanced Dialog” button bottom left to preview your images on the card. Deselect any images at this stage that you know you will not be using by clicking on the green tick in the checkbox under the thumbnail image, rather than waste disk space by importing them.
In the advanced options section on the right you can choose to create a back-up using the “Save Copies to:” option. Use the “choose” button to navigate to ensure that the copies are saved to a different drive than your originals. Checking quality, rating and rejecting images When you see your imported images in Bridge you can change the size of the previews using the horizontal slider at the bottom right of the main window and you can change the Workspace layout by clicking on the numbered tiles (CS3) or grid icons (CS4/CS5) to the right of this slider. (In the illustration below the CS3 version with the numbered tiles is shown greyed out in the background).
You may prefer the “Filmstrip” option initially to help review the images.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine The filmstrip option will show you a large preview of the image so you can evaluate it more thoroughly. These workspaces and more, are available from the window menu in CS3 or the presets /drop down menu (Essentials, filmstrip, metadata etc) in the top toolbar in CS4 and CS5.
When you click directly on the large image the built in Loupe feature is activated allowing you to look more closely at specific aspects of the image, checking for sharpness and detail etc. If you find images that are clearly of no use, or practically duplicates, you can delete them permanently or mark them as rejected by highlighting the image in the filmstrip and pressing the delete key on the keyboard when you will be presented with a choice.
When reviewing your images you can assign a star rating to your favourites. Press the control key on the keyboard at the same time as the number key 1 to 5 to assign a star rating. E.g. Ctrl +5 will give a five star rating. A row of stars under the image in the filmstrip indicates the rating and will be available in other review modes and stored in the images metadata.
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Downloading (Importing) with Lightroom If you are using Photoshop Lightroom, the Library Module combines the functions of the photo downloader and Bridge with a powerful database that makes finding images in the future much easier. Starting in Lightroom’s library module and with your card reader ready, click the “Import” button at the bottom left. This will open the Import dialogue box where you can choose a source to import from in this case “Camera or card reader”. In the next dialogue make sure the green tick is active at the bottom left to Show Preview. Deselect any images at this stage that you know you will not be using by clicking off the checkbox at the top left corner of the thumbnail image rather than waste disk space by importing them. The illustration below shows the new Lightroom version 3 Import interface.
In the “File Handling:” section on the right you can choose to create a back-up. If you want to back up at this stage tick the “Make a Second Copy To:” Use the small drop down triangle to the right of this to choose a back up folder and ensure that the copies are saved to a different drive than your originals. To complete the import click on the “Import” button!
Checking Quality, Rating and Rejecting Images
When you see your imported images in Lightroom they are displayed in a grid and you can change the size of the previews using the horizontal Thumbnails slider at the bottom of the main window. To view an image close up, double click on its thumbnail in the grid and to return to the grid, double click again.
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When you click directly on the large image you zoom in close to the point clicked allowing you to look more closely at specific aspects of the image, checking for sharpness and detail etc. If you have two monitors this can be shown on a separate screen. If you find images that are clearly of no use, or practically duplicates, you can delete them permanently from the disk or just remove them from Lightroomâ€™s database. Highlight the image in the filmstrip and press the delete key on the keyboard to be presented with the following choice in the dialog box here: Just like Bridge, when reviewing your images you can assign a star rating to your favourites. Simply select an image and then press the corresponding number key 1 to 5 to assign a star rating. A row of stars under the image in the filmstrip indicates the rating and will be available in other review modes and stored in the images metadata.
This article and images contained are Copyright ÂŠ and courtesy of John Ogden. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
So now you have your best shots all lined up for some Photoshop fun! Next month we will find out how to get your images into Photoshop and how to customise and save a new Workspace in Photoshop by choosing the most important Panels and tools for your needs.
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Photographic Food for Thought THOUGHTS, CONSIDERATIONS, AND ISSUES FACING THE MODERN DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHER
SELF-PROMOTION WITH YOUR PHOTO BLOG: By Jon Ayres
Every photographer has a favorite subject that they photograph; street scenes, landscapes, architecture, people, pets, you name it, it’s photographed and found interesting by people. But you just can not stick a bunch of photos on a web page and expect people to come and look, you have to give them a reason. This is where writing comes in. Tell a story behind the photos, why did you take the photo, what moved you, your inspiration. Give tips on settings you used, things the photographer wishing to take similar photos needs to be aware of. Good writing helps to make a photo even better just like good photos help to make your writing even better; they both go hand in hand. Give people information that is interesting and that they can use. It will get noticed in time, not overnight, but in time. I have had my blog up and running for 7 months now, and just last week I received an email from the publisher of an in-flight magazine telling me that they liked what they saw on my blog and asked if I would be interested in writing an article for the airline’s in-flight magazine since the airline will be starting flights to Moscow. For the 800 word article and 8 photos I made $300. I have been a featured blogger for Lonely Planet Travel Guides for awhile now, last week I also received an email from the webmaster of Hedonist’s Guide Hg2 website. The Hedonist’s Guide is a British travel guide publisher, telling me that my blog is the type they like to link to on their site and they are interested in featuring some of my articles on Moscow on Hg2’s website. The point is, all of these things happened because I made a blog that is helpful and interesting for people who may be visiting Moscow. I am not only promoting my writing and photography
with my blog, but I am also making money. Does this make me now a professional writer and pro photographer? No, I do not think so, I’ve never considered myself a pro at anything but cheating death (and I’ll only do that for so long), but seriously, using a blog is a great way to get your photography and writing recognized by the world. On my blog I have a widget that tells me how many people have come to my blog and where they are from and what they searched for to find my blog, how long they stayed and if they left using any of my links. It gives me some pretty useful info, especially what they searched for to come to my blog. I can see what people are looking at the most and what they searched for, for ideas on what to write. I have been able to see that other blogs now mention and link my blog and this all has happened within 7 months. I choose to use Google’s Blogger for my blog; it’s free and has everything I need. When I first started blogging, I fell for the blog ads trap: Make money by featuring ads. Once I got rid of all the ads, I learned that my photography and writing can make more money for me than any ads, so my recommendation is to actually keep your blog ad free. I generally try and write a travel article once a week or a Top Moscow Photography site once a week and a living/ working/teaching article once a week. I like to believe that I’m helping people, and maybe I am since two travel publications have asked me to write for them. It really does not matter what type of photography you do, there are others who do it and like it also and that is what you should blog about, something you know and enjoy. Share your ideas, thoughts knowledge and photos and people will come. You can post links to your blog on different forums and your blog can also serve as an online portfolio of your writing and photography, just what magazines are looking to see. If you are looking to generate income from your blog, it’s vitally important to provide a way to be contacted by people interested in buying your photos or writings. You will not get rich by blogging, but you can make some money and get the word out about your photography. So far this month I’ve sold work to magazines, calendar and post card publishers and been featured on two travel publications web pages. I’m getting the word out about my work all over the word for free by blogging. If your interested you can take a look at my blog http://jondayres. blogspot.com/ Its doing exactly what I want it to do, getting the word out about my writing and photography and its paying off for me now.
This article is Copyright © and courtesy of Jon D. Ayres. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
ver the last few years, blogging has become popular on the internet as a way for people to express themselves about everything; even businesses use blogging to promote themselves and that got me to thinking. Since I enjoy writing and since I also enjoy photography, I decided to start a blog that would enforce both interests. Since I’m an American in Russia, I decided that my blog would be about my life here, my work, tourists’ sites and info along with my photography. Mine would be a blog that helps people interested in visiting Moscow or coming here to work and I do cover quite a bit on photography here and my digital art. This leads to the first thing you should do in creating a successful blog - plan out every detail.
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Adobe Photoshop® Tutorial TECHNIQUES, TIPS, AND TRICKS FOR DIGITAL EDITING OF IMAGES IN PHOTOSHOP®
DIGITAL FRAMES TO DISPLAY YOUR IMAGES: By Jennifer Farley Frames are a big part of presentation when it comes to showing off your digital photography. This month, I’m going to show you a simple but elegant technique for finishing your images for display online or even in a PDF. After learning this tutorial, you’ll be able to frame your photographs (digitally) without the cost and hassle of real frames!
Step 1: Open up the photograph that you want to frame. Set your Foreground and Background colours to black and white respectively by pressing D on the keyboard.
Step 2: Press Ctrl + A (Windows) or Cmd + A (Mac) to put a selection around the whole image, then press Shift + Ctrl + J (Windows) or Shift + Cmd + J (Mac) to put your selection on its own layer.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine Step 3: Choose Image > Canvas Size and when the dialog box opens turn on the Relative checkbox and set the Canvas Extension Colour to white. Now set the Width and Height for the size of your frame and matte. This is something you might need to try out a few different values with. For the image that I’m working on here, I set the Width and Height to 10 cm. Click OK to add white space around your photo.
Step 4: Create a new layer below your photo layer. (Note the light grey border in these images is used to denote the edge of the Canvas and will not appear in your images.)
Step 5: Now you’ll draw a selection larger than the photo and this will be the edge of the frame. Select the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and drag out a rectangular selection as large as you would like your frame to be.
Note: If you want to move your marquee while you’re dragging it, just hold down the space bar. When you’ve moved it to where you want it, release the Space Bar and continue dragging.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine Step 6: Press X on the keyboard to set your Foreground colour to white, and press Alt-Backspace (Windows) or OptionDelete (Mac) to fill this selection with white. Now press Control-D / Command-D to deselect. Ok, so nothing appears to change at this point, because you’ve added a white rectangle on top of a white background, but if you look at your layers palette you’ll see the middle layer thumbnail has changed. Now you’ll add a stroke to the edge of the middle rectangle. Click on the Layer Styles button (fx) on the bottom of the Layers Palette and choose Stroke from the drop down menu.
Step 7: When the Layer Style dialog box opens, set the Size to 15 pixels, set the Position to Inside (by choosing Inside the edges stay nice and sharp) and choose a dark grey in the Colour Picker. Note: You may have some trial and error with the Size value. It really depends on how large your image is and how thick you want the stroke to be. Don’t click OK yet. Step 8: You’ll add some depth now by creating a very subtle inner shadow in the upper left corner of the middle rectangle, so click on the words Inner Shadow on the left hand side of the Layer Style dialog box. Set the Opacity to 50% and uncheck the Use Global Light check-box. Set the angle to approximately 140 degrees and set Distance and Size to 10.
Click OK to add the Stroke and the Inner Shadow.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine Step 9: On the Layers palette, click on the Create a New Layer icon. This time youâ€™re creating a small matte between your photograph and your frame. Select the Rectangular Marquee tool again and draw a marquee slightly bigger than your photograph. Now youâ€™ll fill this selection with white by pressing Alt + Backspace / Option + Delete. The press Ctrl + D / Cmd + D to deselect everything. Once again there is nothing new to see in the image because you have added a white box over a white background.
Step 10: Click on the Add A Layer Style icon on the Layers palette and choose Inner Glow from the drop down menu. When the dialog box opens, change the Blend Mode pop-up menu to Normal, lower the Opacity to about 30%, then click on the colour swatch and change the glow colour to black in the Colour Picker.
Step 11: When you click OK, a soft shadow is added to the layer giving the impression of an inner matte with some depth.
PhotographyBB Online Magazine Step 12: Now to finish up, you’ll add a soft drop shadow to the frame (the layer with the stroke and inner shadow already on it). Click on that layer and then choose Drop Shadow from the Add a Layer Style pop-up menu. Set the Opacity to about 30%, turn off the Use Global Light checkbox, increase the Size (which is the softness of the shadow) to 70 pixels, and then click OK. (Note: If you’re working with low resolution images, decrease the size setting.)
The Final Result:
This article and images contained are Copyright © and courtesy of Jennifer Farley. Please contact the author directly with any questions.
Displaying your images with a digital frame provides the same visual impact that a real frame does with printed images. There are many possibilities for how you can experiment with this tutorial. Try filling your matte with a different colour other than white. You can of course play around with the size of the frame and the size of the inner matte to achieve different effects and add to the loveliness of your photographs!
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Top: Photo by member “psmallory” Bottom Left: Photo by member “jcohlmeyer.” Bottom Right: Photo by member “GregM”. Thank you to all of our photography assignment participants. We look forward to your submissions in our ongoing bi-weekly assignments.
The theme for this month’s assignment was to capture the essence of Springtime and what the Spring season brings for you. There were some gorgeous photo submissions to this challenge, so please visit the forums to see the rest of the images which our members took for this challenge. Thanks to all our participants, and here are the top selections for this challenge:
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PhotographyBB flickr Group Member Photos
Top Left: Best of March 2010 - Photo by: Teemu_R http://www.flickr.com/photos/terytky/
Top Right: Best of March - Photo by: Sue90ca http://www.flickr.com/photos/sue90ca/
Bottom Left: Best of March 2010 - Photo by: AnySandyBeach http://www.flickr.com/photos/anysandybeach/
Bottom Right: Springtime - Photo by: jajjen http://www.flickr.com/photos/jajjen/
The PhotographyBB Gallery group on flickr® is the latest place for flickr® members to participate in PhotographyBB Assignments. Each month, in addition to choosing our top photos from the PhotographyBB Forum submissions, we’ll also be selecting some images from the talented members of our flickr® group to showcase their photography. Click on the links under each photo to view the flickr® gallery of the photographer who submitted the photo.
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Would you like to be featured in the PhotographyBB Online Spotlight on Member section? If so, please let us know at: firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll feature your photos, a small biography and writeup about you, as well as links to your web gallery or photography related business. We all love photography and image editing, so let’s get to know each other!
Been Around the World? We are looking for talented writers who would like to share their experiences in visiting far away places, or even your home town for that matter. In our Photography Around the World column, we take our readers on a photographic journey, and we would like you to be our tour guide. If you would like to share your story and photography of a city you have visited, please contact us and share your idea with our team. We’d love to hear from you!
RSS Updates Available: There have been some requests for email notifications of upcoming issues of the PhotographyBB Magazine Online. You can receive updates on the magazine as well as our blog postings through our RSS feed which can either be aggregated to your feed reader, or emailed to your email address. Any of our readers who are interested can subscribe here: http://feeds2.feedburner.com/photographybb
Discounts for Readers: For those of you who are interested in getting into HDR photography, there simply is no better HDR software then HDRsoft’s Photomatix Pro, available as a stand alone software and as a Photoshop Plugin. Visit: http://www.photographybb.com/hdr/ and use the coupon code: photographybb.com for a special discount. Also, check out the Shop PhotographyBB site for links to some great deals on cameras and accessories. Best deals on the web! Thank you for reading the PhotographyBB Online Magazine. We hope you enjoyed it, and we’d love to see you again next month. If you have any questions or comments for us regarding this magazine, please feel free to email us at: email@example.com
Do You Have a Great Idea for a Photography Article? We are looking for talented individuals who would like to expand their portfolios by volunteering to contribute articles to this e-magazine! If you are interested, we’d love to hear from you. Topics of Interest are: -
Photography Techniques Photography on Location Photoshop Tutorials Hardware / Software Reviews Camera Equipment Member Spotlight Plus we’re open to new ideas!
To become either a regular contributing author, or even just for a one-time article, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Introduce yourself, share your idea, and maybe we’ll see you in next month’s issue!
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Published on Jul 13, 2010
OTAGO RAIL TRAIL by Alan Hough Plus: Digital Photography Techniques, Photoshop® CS4 Tutorials, and More! HOW THESE SMALL CAMERAS CAN COMPLIM...